There's something exhilarating about packing the car and hitting the open road for a few weeks of exploration. If you've been considering taking a bit of vacation time for United States travel, check out these five unique roadside attractions along the way.
1. Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas
Perhaps one of the most famous roadside attractions in the U.S., Cadillac Ranch is a living art instillation that's lasted through the decades. Ten Cadillac cars were buried halfway in the dirt, arranged in a straight line and directed at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza. According to Time magazine, the cars were originally located on Interstate 40, but were moved to a cow pasture about 3 kilometres west in 1997.
The site was designed by Ant Farm - Hudson Marquex, Doug Michels and Chip Lord - in 1974. These days, visitors are encouraged to bring spray paint and tag the cars with graffiti, making them an ever-changing display of colour.
2. W'eel turtle in Dunseith, North Dakota
As the name implies, this gigantic creature is made entirely from steel wheel rims - more than 2,000 of them, to be exact. The metal turtle is more than 5 metres tall, making it the world's largest man made turtle, according to RoadsideAmerica.com.
George Gottbreht built W'eel in 1982 near his business Dale's Thrifty Barn. Travel + Leisure magazine explained that the barn includes a restaurant, motel and convenience store all in one. The turtle is meant to be a tribute to nearby Turtle Mountain State Park. The source reported that passersby thought the structure was a lizard at first, so Gottbreht motorized the head for lifelike motion.
3. The Fremont Troll in Seattle, Washington
Under Aurora bridge in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle is a massive one-eyed troll built from steel, wire and concrete. According to the community's website, the Fremont Troll was inspired by the tale of Billy Goat's Gruff. The story goes that the Fremont Arts Council was asked to turn the underpass into a creative space, so they held a competition. A team of artists called the Jersey Devils - Steve Badanes, Ross Whitehead, Donna Walter and Will Martin - designed the troll. It took seven weeks to build the 2-ton giant that's dwelled under the bridge for more than two decades.
4. UFO landing port in Green Bay, Wisconsin
If you drive along U.S. 29 in Wisconsin, you'll find the Tohak and Son Welding Shop and a piecemeal UFO landing port. Bob Tohak built the structure, which is 13 metres tall, from scrap iron and an empty fuel tank. There's a sign on the front that says, "If the government has no knowledge of aliens why did they make it illegal for US citizens to have any contact with extraterrestrials or their vehicles?"
RoadsideAmerica.com interviewed Tohak, who explained how the top of the landing port is equipped with flashing blue lights and can support the weight of a UFO or helicopter.
5. The leaning tower of Niles in Niles, Illinois
If you can't afford Europe travel, there's a leaning tower to see on this continent. Although it's half-scale and leans half as far as the one in Pisa, Italy, the Leaning Tower of Niles is a sight to behold. It was created by Robert Ilg in 1934 and sits at the centre of a public park. According to Time® magazine, it used to be in front of the local YMCA. Travel + Leisure reported that Pisa and Niles became sister cities in 1991 as a result of their similar leaning towers.